British citizens living in Slovakia will enjoy the rights of EU citizens in Slovakia if the UK leaves the EU with no deal, PM Peter Pellegrini (Smer) has confirmed.
His only condition is that the 80,000 to 100,000 Slovaks must be treated the same way in Britain.
"Legal certainty and the preservation of the rights of Slovak citizens living in the United Kingdom is of the utmost interest of the Slovak Republic even in the case of a hard Brexit," Slovakia's Foreign Affairs Ministry wrote in a statement.
Slovakia is prepared for all scenarios, Pellegrini said. It will submit all legislative changes by February 15 and present the areas Brexit may affect by January 30, the TASR newswire reported.
Pre-Brexit Brits will be treated as EU citizens
"Slovakia will adopt all the necessary legislative, administrative, as well as technical changes to preserve that the British citizens living, working and studying on Slovak territory by March 29 will have the same rights as EU citizens," PM Pellegrini announced, as quoted by TASR.
The British government declared on December 6, 2018 that the rights of EU citizens living in the UK would be preserved even in the case of hard Brexit, conditioning it with reciprocity.
Pellegrini pointed out that Slovakia has no agreement on social securities with the UK. However, the Slovak government is determined to make changes to several laws before Brexit to guarantee several social securities to British citizens in Slovakia, such as working years, as reported by TASR.
"We welcome Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini’s important announcement that, even in a no deal scenario, Slovakia will adopt all necessary legislative and administrative changes that will allow British nationals living, working and studying in Slovakia to enjoy the rights of EU citizens," the British Embassy in Slovakia wrote in a statement.
Brexit may help Slovakia
The UK is the sixth biggest export partner to Slovakia, Pellegrini said, adding that Slovakia's export to Britain is worth about €4.8 billion.
Due to Brexit, Slovakia could lose between €200 and €500 million on the revenues side but no threat is to occur in terms of jobs, according to Pellegrini.
He added that Slovakia can gain from Brexit if the country manages to attract British firms to Slovakia, as reported by TASR.